Being able to book trips online, price comparison sites and low-cost long haul flights made global travel more affordable like never before.
Unfortunately, the dream of a perfect holiday can be a nightmare for some. Every year popular holiday destinations are suffer from natural disasters terrorist attacks. Just like in 2017 Mexico (one of the top 10 popular holiday destinations), was unfortunately ravaged by two earthquakes within a few weeks, causing more than 360 deaths and an exponential infrastructural damage on the side.
Although the odds of a disaster happening just while you’re spending your dream holiday may be significantly low, sometimes it is difficult to ignore the well known risks of traveling. Fact is – we are better face with this – climate change is going to be causing more and more and ever so frequent extreme weather related disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes and flooding. Which ultimately means, finding a holiday destination immune to wildfires, flash flooding and severe storms, may get challenging, even in the near future.
For example, good old Europe is generally considered as a a very safe destination. You can hardly hear about earthquakes, hurricanes and although there are active volcanoes – they haven’t erupted recently. But now, even Europe seems to be battling extreme and dangerous weather. You might remember, this summer, Greece suffered horrific wildfires which killed over 70 people and resulted in the complete destruction of a tourist resort. Or lately, whilst on summer holiday in Mallorca, a British couple lost their lives as torrential rain caused flash flooding which engulfed the town of Sant Lorenç. Even I witnessed the danger of the flooding all over in Venice, Italy last February. Unfortunately, these events are getting more and more frequent.
However, all this does not seem to stop the British people taking holidays abroad. The percentage of people taking a foreign holiday this year increased to 60%, the highest level since 2011 according to ABTA’s Holiday Trends Report. But some destinations are now being more frequently excluded when it comes to deciding about holidays.
Holidaymakers are being put off locations perceived to have a high terrorism risk. In a survey carried out by Silver Travel Advisor, 63% of people said that they will not consider a holiday destination where there have been terrorist attacks already. Bad news for Paris and Nice. But looks like only for a short while, as it appears that the adverse effect on visitor numbers are normally short lived. In ABTA’s Holiday Trends Report 2018 we can see a trend of Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia bookings rising again, despite the terrorist incident from three years ago, when a lone terrorist killed 30 British tourists, at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel.
Another aspect of how terrorism has an effect of tourism related income, is that some countries that are most affected by natural disasters are the the ones rely heavily on tourism. Loosing all that income because tourists are staying away means the country gets a second hit, straight into its economy. After a tsunami hit Sulawesi in September, Indonesia’s national disaster agency had to admit that their 22 deep water buoys used to detect tsunamis have been out of order for years. They blamed the government for the lack of coordination and funding. Despite the risks associated with visiting countries like Indonasia, according to the FCO 360,000 British nationals visited Indonesian islands during the last year.
So sectors related to the travel industry, like insurance, did recognise that people want to travel and will not stop travel. And this realisation helped them to develop specific insurance packages and they now offer a wide choice of covers to enable travellers to protect themselves against crisis’ and disasters. For example, Insure4Retirement, a specialist Over 50s Home and Travel insurance provider, in partnership with Just Travel Cover, offer a Crisis Response Service with their Ready2Go Gold travel policy. A key benefit of this cover is a dedicated phone number which gives travellers access to immediate assistance and an unrivalled set of skills if disaster strikes while they are abroad. That is really reassuring and a peace of mind.
The conclusion is that we live in a connected world and reports of disaster and terrorist attack are not the headline news anymore, every once in a while. But tourism is a resilient industry. Many nations rely heavily on tourism so they work hard to restore impacted areas.
So, the job is to minimise the risks, as much as we can and ensure that you everything planned out well and cover in place.
Silver Travel Advisor Report
ABTA’s Holiday Trends Report 2018
ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2018
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia/natural-disasters (correct as of 18th October)
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia (correct as of 18th October)
This is a collaborative post.